Despite being shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Highway 60 and 65 Interchange, the Springfield Conservation Nature Center is home to a very diverse group of wildlife. Within 2.8 total miles of trails, visitors can venture through an upland hardwood oak hickory forest, wetlands, a glade, a bottomland prairie and a savannah. Nature Center Manager Rudy Martinez says these habitats attract anything from white-tailed deer and turkeys to the occasional otter or bobcat, along with many reptiles and amphibians. Most animals won’t be out and about during the heat of the summer, so early morning or late evening is the best time to visit.
There are five trails to explore throughout the park’s almost 80 acres, with the furthest being the Long Trail at nearly 2 miles. The trail includes a bridge where visitors can see up the creek and into Lake Springfield. The Boardwalk Trail is a little under half a mile and has a decked boardwalk over the wetland where frogs and tadpoles can be spotted if you stop and look closely.